Integrating Student Assistants into Digital Repository Workflows: Challenges and Best Practices
Keywords:management, student employments, student workers, repositories, digital collections, scholarly communications
AbstractThe Scholarly Communication Initiatives and Digital Collections departments within the University adapted staff workflows to become student-centered, where workers create digital content for the University’ digital repositories. Each department has a diverse set of needs; Scholarly Communication Initiatives hires students to help with the creation of metadata records, review open access options for sharing each work, and upload items into the institutional repository. Digital Collections relies on students to scan, create metadata, and upload images online that reflect physical holdings in Special Collections and Archives. Utilizing student workers also provides more time for full-time staff to work on higher-level projects and to update, rethink, improve, and streamline existing workflows. Both departments have found that student-centered workflows teach technical and transferable skills while also encouraging students to grow professionally, academically, and socially, setting students up for success beyond graduation. Empowering the whole student and encouraging their personal and collaborative growth thus helps each department to become more efficient and successful in their missions, a triumph that is possible for any library department of an academic institution. While there is a large body of research on student workers in libraries, including on the topics of management and specific functional areas, there is very little research focused on student workers in digital repositories. This article begins to fill this gap and discusses the philosophies and methodologies of both departments’ approaches, as well as the results of implementing student-centered processes for the department and full-time staff.